claaarky - 11:13 am on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)
I agree it's not about price necessarily (which is ironic as that is supposed to be the big advantage of shopping online).
My stats show that most visitors buy within 10 minutes of visiting my site. From the search terms, ranking positions and other merchants ranking for those terms I can safely say there isn't much shopping around going on. Some, but not much.
I've always felt that the most important factor for being successful online is "being found". A proportion of visitors will always buy, even if your site is a dog to use. In the 10 years I've run an online business that's the thing that has amazed me the most - people really don't care too much who they buy from. I'm not saying they shouldn't be buying from me, but I'm often surprised how many do!
The difference between whether people buy or not is largely down to whether we have what they were looking for.
Being a well known name can be a big help but so is a great site that helps customers through the sales funnel without fuss. Both count, you can be highly successful in Google with either, but it's easier and cheaper to create a great site and establish your name through increasing organic search traffic.
I think this obsession with becoming a brand to overcome the limitations of a website is short sighted. I can see how it might work but I just don't think it's necessary. Focus on the website - get it right and the traffic will come, then you'll become a brand and we can all moan about you dominating the rankings.